March 25,2002

Grassley on the IRS' Crackdown on Tax Cheats

Today the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice filed court papers seekingrecords from the Visa credit card company to help track down people who are using offshore banksin tax havens to avoid U.S. taxes. Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee onFinance, as chairman last April convened a hearing on tax schemes, scams and cons. Grassley madethe following comment on today’s development.

“At our hearing last year, the IRS promised to crack down on tax cheats. I’m glad to see theIRS following up so aggressively. The idea that hundreds of thousands of Americans might be usingtheir offshore credit card accounts to dodge U.S. taxes is shocking. I’m amazed at the creativity ofthose who like being Americans but dislike their American tax obligation. Since tax cheats areendlessly creative, the IRS has to be just as creative to catch the crooks.

“In addition to going after individual tax cheats, the IRS also should go after the promotersof illegal tax schemes, especially if those promoters are top accounting firms with easy access to alot of clients.

“I understand that these credit card-based tax avoidance scams will be a major focus of anupcoming Finance Committee hearing, which will follow up on last year’s hearing by gauging theIRS’ progress in policing tax scams.

“The timing of the IRS’ action is important. It’s tax return filing season. To anyone usingan offshore credit card account to dodge taxes, your time is up. When you’re filing your tax returnthis year, check the box and ’fess up. Come clean because the IRS will know your hands are dirty.”